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Ministers vow to back Brexit delay to avoid no-deal, defying PM | Politics News



Three cabinet ministers have promised to defy the prime minister and vote to extend Article 50 if she cannot get her Brexit deal through.

Ahead of voting in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Amber Rudd, David Gauke and Greg Clark have said they would vote to give Britain more time to negotiate a deal with the European Union, going against Theresa May and breaking cabinet unity.

Article 50 is the clause which triggered the UK’s withdrawal from the EU – giving the country two years to negotiate an exit deal. It comes to an end of 29 March this year.

Writing in the Daily Mail on Saturday, the trio acknowledge the “extraordinary determination and resilience” of Theresa May in working on the deal to leave the EU, but say there will not be enough time to bring new legislation to the table before 29 March.

They warn of severe damage to the economy, national security and even the constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom in a no-deal scenario.

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Chris Skidmore MP, Science Minister, on no-deal

They write: “Costs will increase, businesses that rely on just-in-time supply chains will be severely disrupted and investment will be discouraged.

“Obviously, trade with the EU will become harder but so will trade with important non-EU economies, like Japan and South Korea, with whom we currently trade with benefit of free trade agreements available for EU members.”

The trio – who serve as work and pensions secretary, justice secretary and business secretary – said there will not be enough time, should the deal be voted down again, to complete necessary legislation.

They say: “Leaving on 29 March would mean leaving without a deal.

“Our hope is that Parliament recognises that we should leave the EU on 29 March with a deal.

“However, if there is no breakthrough in the coming week, the balance of opinion in Parliament is clear – that it would be better to seek to extend Article 50 and delay our date of departure rather than crash out of the European Union on 29 March.”

Chancellor Philip Hammond sorry to see colleagues leave party

In a swipe at their Brexit-supporting colleagues, the Remainer ministers call on members of the ERG (European Research Group) to recognise that Parliament must stop a no-deal Brexit, saying they will have “no one to blame but themselves” for delaying Brexit.

Mrs May will table a motion in the Commons on Wednesday to which MPs can add amendments.

Ian Blackford, a member of the Scottish National Party, was the last MP to try to get a request to extend Article 50 through, but it was voted down.

Business Secretary Mr Clark has previously told Sky News that no-deal would cause incalculable damage to Britain.

In January, Ms Rudd told Sky News: “The worst outcome would be a no-deal Brexit where the economy would be adversely affected.”

Mr Gauke has previously refused to rule out quitting the cabinet in the event of a no-deal Brexit, saying: “I won’t support an irresponsible policy.”

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